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Summer in the City

Salt Lake City has been hot for the past few weeks!  The temperature has exceeded 100 degrees for several days in a row.  We have a window air conditioner unit for the bedroom but the rest of the house relies on a swamp cooler for relief.  Have you heard of this?  It’s so weird and it only works in a dry state like Utah.  The swamp cooler cools the house by pushing out moist air.  If this was New England, the humidity might kill you.

Do you know what’s great when it’s hot?  Pool time!

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Ava has been so hot that she hasn’t wanted to be in the Baby Bjorn or the stroller at night.  Instead she gets pool time and she loves it.  She’s so freaking tough because she loves being in the pool with a sprinkler jetting ice cold water onto her back.  Also, she’s not really a baby anymore.  Who is this tall girl?

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One advantage of the heat is that it’s making the garden explode.  We have six tomato plants and some of them are taller than us.  We’re going to be swimming in tomatoes in a month.

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I’ve harvested the kale five times and you’d never know it, I’ve used one zucchini for muffins, two zucchini for a pasta dish, a jalapeño for fish tacos, and a hot wax pepper for pizza.  The hot wax pepper was awesome but tiny so it only covered half the pizza.  There are three banana peppers growing right now!  I always make a pizza on Sunday and it’s going to be amazing this week.

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By the way, the oranges are an attempt to keep our neighbors’ cats out of our garden beds. It seems to work well as long as they’re relatively fresh.

Happy

Ava has been really happy lately.  I’ve had Friends on in the background lately and when the theme song comes on Ava starts dancing.  You can see almost all of her eight teeth.  She’s trying to cut yet another one, which is unfortunate because she only needs eight.  She also laughs hysterically when you run the food processor.

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Ava continues to get into everything.  I have to close the bathroom door or there will be toilet paper everywhere.  I can’t leave anything on the bench or she’ll tear it apart.

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It’s much easier for Ava to pull herself up to standing.  She can stand with just one hand on something to stabilize herself.  She’s doing a lot more shuffling while holding an edge.  Little by little, she gets closer to walking.

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For months Ava wanted to read books by herself.  But this week she actually picked out a book from a stack, brought it to me, let me put her on my lap, and sat as I read it to her.  It was awesome!

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Ava will stroke my hand, especially at night while she’s drinking her bottle.  I love thinking about moments like that, especially during the day when Ava is too busy for cuddles.

Coming out of The Fog

I was looking at my Twitter feed the other day and I realized that I’m slowly reclaiming life apart from a baby again.  Ava is everything to me, but in general people are pretty boring if they only have one topic they can discuss.  I’m back!  I’m reading tech blogs again, I pick up my cross-stitch at night, I’m thinking about new cooking projects, I’m gardening.  I’m so happy!

 

I went to California for two days last week to meet the people from my new job and to attend an IP conference.  I thought Ava would be very needy once I came back, but she actually seems less needy.

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At this new house the yard isn’t as big as our previous house’s, but the space is used better.  There are three huge raised beds at the back and space all along the right side of the yard.

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Our garden is huge and there are sprinklers installed in the garden beds, which keeps the soil moist.  Our kale is unhinged.  You can see it in the middle back bed.  I’ve already harvested it five times because there’s a cayenne pepper in the middle that is getting eclipsed by the kale and it’s still going strong.  We’re on a barter system with the neighbors so we exchanged kale for a baby/dog bike trailer.

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We planted probably 20 different pepper plants.  Tonight I made fish tacos with the first pepper to be harvested: a purple jalapeño.  The jalapeño was delicious but very mild.  I was cautious because usually jalapeños from the garden are much spicier than grocery store jalapeños.

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The fish tacos also had radishes from our CSA share.  We’re getting 1.5 shares so we’re swimming in vegetables.  We’re eating salads for lunch and dinner every day.

 

We Keep Ava Active

Ava goes everywhere, she does everything!  We’ve taken her to Red Butte Garden.  She had a great time.  She wanted to pull and eat all the flowers so we spent most of our time in an edible garden and in an ornamental grass section.

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Jon got an attachment for his bike, and he can bike with Ava.  Her only issue is that he doesn’t bike fast enough.  She bucks in her seat if he’s too slow.

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Jon installed a swing on our porch.  Ava will become hysterical if you take her out of it too soon.  Be prepared to push it for at least 15 minutes.

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We’ve walked every little nook and cranny in our neighborhood so for our nightly walk we’ve been driving up east to the fancy part of town.  It’s nice to look at different houses and they have a huge park.  We spent maybe 20 minutes in the park tonight and then tried to take a walk, but Ava was upset until we went back to the park.

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Ava Is 13 Months Old

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep doing these, but I think I’ll enjoy going back and reading about Ava’s milestones.  This may be especially informative if we have a second baby.

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is into everything!  She can pull herself up on nearly any surface.  She is very interested in whatever you’re using, especially if it’s a phone.  She’s taken an interest in trying to pull out plugs so she can touch the metal prong.
  • Ava almost gave me a heart attack when she climbed a full flight of stairs without me knowing.
  • I expect Ava to walk any day now.  She’s started to let go of me while standing so she can wobble for a second before falling down.
  • Ava hates it when I change her diaper.  She’s perfectly happy laying down for diaper changes for her nanny, but for me I have to do it while she’s standing up.  It’s very hard when she has stomach troubles and I have to do diaper changes every few hours.
  • There has been some backsliding in terms of Ava’s independence.  She is often happy to play independently if I’m in the same room, but if I change rooms she’ll cry while crawling after me.  She has great hearing and can detect when you’ve opened the back door; it makes her crazy.
  • I used to do a lot of reading to Ava, but lately she’s preferred to read to herself.  It’s not consistent, though, because tonight she wanted me to read to her for 20 minutes.  That hasn’t happened in months!

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Foods and Liquids

  • I found a food that Ava dislikes!  Raspberries are not her thing.  She also isn’t thrilled with the peanut butter crackers that I bought her last week.
  • She’s eating more food every day.  I can always give Ava at least a portion of our dinner.  I usually have at least one thing I can give her to feed herself and then I can feed her other things.  For example, tonight I gave her peaches and garlic bread to feed herself.  Then I fed her spaghetti from my fork.

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Sleep

  • I just weaned Ava last week so it’s early, but her sleep has been for longer periods of time.
  • The problem now is that Ava doesn’t enjoy sleeping in our bed anymore but she still wants to be near us.  She keeps waking up whimpering and tries to adjust herself until she winds up horizontal, slapping one of us and kicking the other.  So I had to transfer Ava back to the crib, but then she only slept for two hours before I had to get her again and complete the whole painful process again.
  • We moved her crib into our bedroom last night based on the theory that she might be more willing to sleep in her crib if it was touching our bed.  However, she was so cold last night that I let her warm up in our bed after her 2 am wakeup and I fell asleep before I could transfer her back to the crib.  Hopefully tonight will go better.

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Language Skills

  • Ava is experimenting with new words.  Her pronunciation isn’t perfect so I’m not always sure if she said what I thought she did, but I think she called a yellow car “yellow,” she said “woof” at a picture of a dog, and she consistently says “bird” while pointing at a bird flying away.
  • Ava frequently chatters, especially when we take walks at night.  I think she’s going to be one of those non-stop talkers and I can’t wait to know what she’s thinking.

Stairs

Jon has been out of town this week so I’ve taking care of Ava all week.  Single parents have it rough!  I went into the bathroom for a few minutes and when I came out Ava was gone.  Then I heard banging on the second floor.  She can crawl up a full flight of stairs!  I can’t stop thinking about what would have happened if she had fallen at the top.  There’s a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs now.  The bars double as a track for her car.

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Ava had her one year wellness checkup yesterday.  She completely charmed the doctor.  The doctor kept remarking on how expressive she is. / Ava weighs 21.5 lbs at 50% and 31 inches at 87%.  My tall skinny girl.

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While Jon was away I weaned Ava.  She cried the first two nights, but last night she only woke up once and there were no tears.  These stages are so bittersweet for me.  I don’t want her nursing all night and I can’t wait to get sleep in more than two hour chunks again.  But I miss my little baby.

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Ava Is Almost Walking

Ava started letting us hold her hands and walk her around the house.

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In fact, it took one day for her to go from being willing to have us help her walk to insisting that we help her walk.  She pulls herself up easily and she took a few steps while gripping the edges of objects.

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Ava is also capable of climbing up stairs.  She spent the day climbing up four steps to get onto the porch.  She’s not trying to climb up the steps in the house, yet.  It’s a bit of a problem because the walls are warped and we haven’t found a baby gate that works to prevent her from accessing the stairs.

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As Ava gets older her needs get more complicated.  When she was an infant she needed food, a diaper change, or a nap.  Now she wants me to do very specific things, but she doesn’t have words for her desires.  If I don’t understand she gets so mad.  She’ll hit things like her own body or the floor while crying.  Sometimes she throws herself onto the floor, covering her face with her arm, in a pure tantrum.  I’m looking forward to her learning more words so I can help her.  I really sympathize with her.

You know what you did.

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Working from Home

I switched jobs last month.  The previous job wasn’t working well.  I was required to bill 1800 hours a year, which meant logging about 160 hours a month.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, until you realize that patent prosecutors can’t bill for a lot of the time they’re in the office doing administrative tasks, networking, attending meetings, etc.  The billable hour requirement was killing me.  Also, if Ava kept me up all night and I was useless the next day I had to try and soldier through, which wasn’t feasible, especially in the early days.  I completely understand why women’s careers stall out after they have kids because something has to suffer and I generally can’t choose work over my daughter.

 

The new job is for a virtual law firm so I work from home.  I have the best office mates.

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Stonewall likes to perch on the window and look outside.  He’s funny, though, because when he sees people passing by, he freaks out. If a bird flies by the window, everyone takes off.

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The transition is hard on Ava because she gets hysterical if I come and go too often.  I have to wait until her nap time to slip downstairs to make lunch.

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Nice things about working from home include not having to worry about dressing up like a “proper” attorney and there are a lot of people who have strong opinions about how female attorneys should dress.  Also, I can exercise in the middle of the day and shower afterwards without it being a big production.  I used to bike from home to the gym, work out, shower, and then wheel my bike to work.  No more!  I was worried that the isolation would get to me, but I’m back in a job where I talk to people all the time (coworkers through video conferences, examiner interviews, inventor meetings, etc.) that I talk to more people now than I did at my last firm.

Ava Is Unstoppable

This baby is barely a baby anymore.  When I put her down for bed last night, she didn’t want me to hold her and give her a bottle.  She keeps wanting to hold the bottle herself.  Also, instead of getting ready for bed, she wanted to climb the headboard.  She actually prefers when there are pillows in the way because it makes the process more difficult.

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Ava likes to pull herself up and then fall down.  She laughs on the way down.

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She’s spending a lot more time on her feet before she collapses.  I really love watching the process of her muscles getting stronger each week.  Ava will stand while grabbing the couch and sort through books for a few minutes before falling down.  She’ll be walking any day now.

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Last weekend it was pouring on Saturday so we took Ava to the aquarium.  She had a good time.  The only fish that interested her were ones that swam right in front of her face.  She was more interested in birds in the exhibits, like a toucan that stood only a few feet away.  Afterwards, we went to IKEA, which she loved.  Ava would climb up the pillows and fall backwards into the couch.  Jon says that the next time it rains on a weekend we should save our money and take Ava to Target.

 

IKEA had these great wooden cars that Ava loves.  She’s so physical these days, I love it.

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This year Mother’s Day was the day before Ava’s birthday.  We spent the day exploring the aviary that is within walking distance of our house.  It’s really nice to visit, especially since we were married there.  If we stay in Salt Lake, it will be a nice story to tell Ava about when we visit.

 

At first Ava thought it was a walk like any other walk because she couldn’t make out the grey and brown birds in the cages.  But once we got to the macaws she really perked up.  This macaw kept saying “Hi” to her so she’d say “Hi” back and do her wave, which is opening and closing her hand with her fingers.  They communicated.

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Ava’s birthday was pretty low key.  Jon got off work early to take her to the park.  I made lemon vanilla cupcakes.  You can’t see it, but Ava’s onsie in the picture below says “Hello World,” which is a programming reference and also a funny thing to wear on your birthday.

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This week poor Ava has had a horrible stomach virus.  She’s been needing her diaper changed all day and all night, and when you change her diaper at night she wakes up and it takes an hour to get her back to sleep.  So during the worst of it, we’d go through this cycle of her needing a diaper change, spending an hour falling back asleep, and waking up an hour later needing a diaper change again.  She was still feeling bad today, although she’s on the mend.

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Jon let me put her hair in a little ponytail.  Isn’t it the best?  Her hair had been driving me crazy because it’s always in her face and it gets so messy during mealtime.  Her nanny does a much better job of gathering the hair.  I don’t know how she does it with such a wriggly baby.

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